Last night the boys took a back seat for a special undercover mission by Agent Diana Barrigan (Marsha Thomason). In “Deadline,” Helen Anderson, an aggressive and intense investigative journalist (Jayne Atkinson, 24) receives death threats but refuses the help of the FBI. She’s been investigating P & V pharmaceutical company and their cover up of fatal batch of a new drug that they refused to recall because it was so far in the approval process.
Diana goes in under the guise of an assistant looking for work and despite a tough interview she made it through. Left alone she handled demanding journalist as best as anyone could and behind the scenes, Peter and his team were making it happen. Nice way to double pack on those P & V goons as the baddies; never trust an Asian with the last name of “Sullivan.” I kid, I kid.
It’s always fun to see Peter (Tim DeKay) get into the act and do some role-playing while Neal (Matt Bomer) scoped out the scene of the pharmaceutical company. Another great Peter moment was seeing him in awe of Neal’s paper splitting trick and then trying unsuccessfully the rest of the episode to duplicate it. Give Peter credit; He’s showing Neal that his trust in him is completely restored but he’s using Jones and Barrigan to carry out his suspicions and making sure they’re notified if one of those paintings is sold.
Peter and Neal may have been offering support for Diana, but didn’t mean that Neal was taking the episode off. He tried to use his charm to intercept the manifest at Diana’s house, even using Sara (Hilarie Burton) to run a con with him on their double date with Diana and her girlfriend, Christie (Moran Atias, Crash). Neal worked his charm and even pulled out the story of how they met, (pottery class, Unchained Melody, you piece it together), but this episode he was always one step behind Peter which I liked, because sometimes it seems like it’s the other way around all the time. Neal and Sara are getting quite comfortable with each other’s “skills” and seem more than enthusiastic to help each other out. Is this how Neal worked his charm on Kate to run cons with him? Or is Sara willingly fine with being corrupted? You can read what Hilarie has to say about it here.
The big Neal moment of the night (other than having his shirt off to greet Sara) was when he and Diana were quoting the movie Ghost, which Peter overheard and said, “A ‘Ghost’ quote? Whoo. If you know how Diana and Christie met, then you are officially part of the family.” The look that Neal wore on his face could show that he is getting too close to everyone in the office and the burden/guilt of having the treasure could be weighing heavily on his mind, especially while he’s planning to con them all. If Neal does turn over the treasure, this episode could be a pivotal one for his character.
Now, unless I missed it, it’s not clear whether Mozzie (Willie Garson) sold the painting or not. They knew that Diana would be the one to translate the manifest, but Mozzie’s reaction at the end of the episode when Agent Matthews gave him the slip made it seem like he did sell it knowing the list was going to Washington D.C. This could be a major over-reaction by Mozzie; he’s is paranoid by nature. But had he sold the painting, I doubt he would have waited until the last day to make the switch.
There’s something I’ve noticed about some (thankfully not all) White Collar viewers online is that there’s this strange desire–again, by some–to keep the story strictly on Peter and Neal. Sorry, but I vehemently and respectfully disagree. There’s a great central story of White Collar and one I do believe drives the show forward, but there are excellent supporting characters (played by terrific actors) that contribute to the central story all of the time, who deserve to have the attention turned towards them every once in a while. This is not a two-hour film, this is an episodic television show that has been good enough to make it to its third season; I don’t believe it’s unreasonable for these other characters to share the spotlight. It mixes it up, and it makes the cast three-dimensional. No, I’m not talking about the glasses.
“Deadline” was a beautiful example of this as we got to see the talented Marsha Thomason strut her stuff and show why Diana was handpicked to be in Peter’s group, why Peter trusts her with the manifest and other important jobs. We also got to see a quick glance at her personal life because lots of people take their work home with them. Peter does it with Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen), Neal is doing it with Sara, you can damn sure bet Diana talks about her long days with Christie. Bravo to the White Collar writing staff for handling Diana and Christie’s relationship with the same care and warmth used for Peter and Elizabeth. Hopefully we get to see Christie again some day.
If you do have a problem with it, get over it, and get used to it because we’re going to see other supporting characters like Jones (Sharif Atkins), Mozzie, and Elizabeth be featured in future episodes, as well as their home lives. Hopefully, June (Diahann Carroll) too. If their episodes are as good as “Deadline” or even better, then I just don’t see how these are a bad thing.
Other highlights include:
• How Diana and Christie met in pottery class which pays off later when Neal does the penny up the wall trick from Ghost.
• Diana needs to use a Manchester accent for her cover when in real life, that is Thomason’s actual accent and hometown.
• Elizabeth’s “Burke Events” comes in to save the day as a ringer.
• Mozzie the mood killer leading to this moment:
Neal: Wait You’re leaving?
Sara: Mood’s sufficiently killed. Call me later, or come over.
Sara: Not you.
• Best line of the night:
Helen: Who are you?
Diana: FBI Agent Diana Barrigan… Damn right I’m overqualified.
Next week Peter and Neal go undercover to help out Mozzie. Catch the new episodes of White Collar on Tuesdays at 9PM ET/PT on USA.